clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Phoenix capitalizes on another lackluster effort by the Mavs to win 124-115

New, comments

Turnovers and sloppiness lead to a blowout Suns win over the Mavs.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Turnovers man. Despite a good start to the game, ennui seemed to set in to stymie the Mavs on the second straight night. Seriously, I have no idea why so many Mavs continue to have such extended periods of just piss-poor effort. But it hurts. And it basically gifted Phoenix the game, while preventing Dallas any opportunity to dig themselves out of the hole they created for themselves tonight.

The Mavs started this game off much better than last night. Dirk hit a couple, Rondo hit a couple, and most importantly, the defensive intensity was there. Honestly, I don't know what was going on against Atlanta last night, but the Mavs just seemed more interested in playing basketball early tonight against Phoenix. The ball movement was crisper. Dirk was more engaged. Parsons had a really pretty dribble move into the paint for a layup that unfortunately didn't go in, but then Tyson cleaned it up and drew a foul. The Mavs actually grabbed several offensive boards in the first quarter, though they gave up quite a few as well.

In an interesting development, Charlie Villenueva was the first Mav off the bench. Either he showed something to Rick Carlisle last night or the coach just thought he would go with the hot hand. Either way, it was a (mostly) good move. Charlie brought a lot of energy, which his teammates seemed to feed off of. Rondo had a steal that led to what would otherwise have been a one-man fast break, but Charlie stayed right with him and got the tip-in when Rondo's layup didn't quite fall. Charlie was mostly a positive, though he looked a bit overmatched on defense. Overall, Charlie may be a streaky shooter, but the spacing seems to be better with him on the floor. It should be interesting to see how Carlisle uses him going forward.

While the Mavs got out to a good start, Phoenix didn't go anywhere. Unfortunately, the Mavs still have very little interest in guarding open shooters beyond the arc, so Gerald Green very quickly drilled a couple of wide open threes late in the first, Phoenix went on an 11-0 run late in the first, and the Mavs finished the quarter only up by one.

I wonder if maybe Greg Smith got jealous of Charlie V hogging the post-Brandan Wright spotlight. Smith had a solid first half, nabbing offensive and defensive rebounds, hitting a couple of layups, and making both of his free throws. He finished the first half with an impressive 6 points and 4 rebounds.

Rondo's shooting was much better tonight, as he hit a couple of jumpers (including a three) and a couple of layups. Oddly enough it was his passing that was hit and miss at times. Rondo doesn’t yet seem to have a good feel for where his teammates are. A couple of times already tonight he has just passed the ball to a blank space rather than a teammate. I'm sure he'll get it figured out eventually, but it was a little frustrating.

Dallas's passing got sloppier in the 2nd, and turnovers really kept Phoenix in it. Dallas had 13 turnovers in the first half, leading to 15 points for the Suns. Monta in particular seemed disinterested and lazy for much of the first half, turning it over regularly, failing to defend the perimeter, and missing some really easy shots. He didn't get his first points until a dunk with under 30 seconds left in the half. The (frankly really embarrassing) sloppiness led to a 17-4 Phoenix run to close the quarter, and the Suns led 53-45 at half.

And it really didn't get any better from there. Look. Ultimately the Mavs' turnovers cost them their lead, and then their complete unwillingness and/or inability to guard the perimeter prevented every attempt to make any sort of comeback.

At one point in the third quarter, it looked like Monta might wake up. He hit jumpers on back-to-back possessions, then got assists on back-to-back Charlie V threes. Unfortunately the Mavs couldn't stop fouling Phoenix in the act of shooting or leaving open three-point shooters, so the lead stayed in double-digits. And then the energy just slowly seemed to seep out of the Mavs. They would continue to make a couple of small tries to get back in the game, but just couldn't muster enough effort to make any sort of headway.

The starters continue to look bad. Parsons is back to being the tentative nonpresence that we were all frustrated with early in the season. (Seriously, he was so bad that Carlisle elected to go with Richard Jefferson to close the game.) Monta completely disappeared. Dirk was better, leading the team in scoring with 22 (not quite grabbing the 28 he needed to pass Elvin Hayes), but he still doesn't look like the Dirk we know and love. And while Rondo hit some early shots, he had a bunch of turnovers tonight and didn't seem to contribute anything in the second half.

Of all the starters, only Tyson Chandler continues to produce consistently, finishing with 22 points of his own, along with 14 rebounds. He also did a lot of small things that don't show up on the stats sheet, but are nonetheless encouraging. In particular, he drew several loose ball fouls by getting good position and fighting for rebounds. But he is only one man.

Charlie V was a bright spot in this frustrating game. He hit several threes and a couple of pretty floaters. He finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.

Dallas isn't going to win games if they refuse to guard the perimeter. It just isn't going to happen. PJ Tucker went off from range for a stretch in the third. Even when the Mavs closed out on Gerald Green (which wasn't often), he drained seemingly every three he took. Phoenix shot 40% from three tonight.

Mavs made another effort right at the end, largely on the backs of Dirk and Tyson, but it was too little, too late. Suns win 124-115. Happy holidays everyone. As a gift from us to you, the next time you see the Mavs, they'll be playing the Lakers. Maybe Charlie will score 30.